Along the Granite and Woodlands Trail to Hyden and then Margaret River
Leaving Norseman we set off down the G & W T down to Hyden. The Trail passes through the Great Western Woodlands. This is a unique landscape and vegetation region. The gravel road goes 300 km through various vegetation types. From tall Salmon and Gimlet gums in mature growth phases to areas where the forest is being renewed and is literally packed with junior versions of these trees. The Salmon gums in particular have an amazing pink hue to their trunk which glows in the sunlight. The Gimlet gums have a bronze trunk and similarly glow in the sunlight, particularly in the late afternoon. Underneath are relatively open areas with low shrubs. It is almost a park like appearance in places.
The rocks around these parts are old granite outcrops rising up a couple of hundred metres from the surrounding plains. Just demanding to be climbed up! Along the trail we stopped off at Disappointment Rock for a couple of hours to walk to the top. Well we got to the top but got lost on the way down! Took a wrong turn and wandered around for quite a while trying to find the way down, at least the right route to take us on the full walk around the rock. Any way we actually went backwards and ultimately got back to the van, a bit late though and a bit disappointed.
This slight holdup cost us a bit of time and we had to stay overnight at the next rock, McDermid Rock. The weather was getting pretty ragged, very windy and rain on the way. We found a good spot in the lee of the rock reasonably sheltered. Went for a stroll up the rock. Main objective was to see a wave-like formation. A junior ‘wave rock’ compared to the iconic one at Hyden. Didn’t find it and because of the approaching rain storm we headed back to camp. Couldn’t have our usual campfire as the rain and wind came down.
All gone in the morning and we had blue skies to take us onto the Breakaways. Prior to leaving we did see the ‘wave’. It wasn’t far from the camp site. We had originally planned to camp at the Breakaways. A beautiful spot, with the multi coloured cliffs, salmon gums and wildflowers blanketing the ground. We stopped here for a while before heading off along the trail into Hyden.
Hyden is a small country town surrounded by grain fields. Hyden Rock towers over it a couple of kilometres away. The ‘wave rock’ we hear about is really just one of the flanks of Hyden Rock. We camped for two nights at the Wave Rock Caravan Park a mere 100 metres or so from its base. The Rock has been significantly ‘used’ by us European settlers. We have built a dam in a valley between two humps of the rock and have built a mini wall (from slabs of rock quarried from the Rock) around the lip of the rock to funnel water into the dam. The dam was used to supply Hyden with its water up until 1963, it now supplies the water for stock watering. There are also steel ladders and steps on the rock to help us climb it. At the bottom of the steel steps there is a sign that tells us not to take ‘sample’ rock away as it harms the environment and offends the local indigenous people. Quite perverse! Anyway we had a climb up it and took some photos at sunset. Some great views and the ‘wave’ is a quite amazing land form. All the tourists love having their picture taken under the ‘wave’.
Leaving Hyden we now head for Margaret River. Along the way we passed through the small town of Kulin, famous for its Bush Picnic Race meeting. It was on the weekend we passed through and lots of people were coming into town. They come along what is known as the Tin Horse Highway. The road is lined with tin horses in all sorts of poses. There are about 70 of them and new ones get added each year as part of the race meeting promotions. Quite an attraction and something to see.
Next was Wagin were we stayed overnight. This is a wool town and they have Baart, the biggest ram known. It is big.
Not much time to look around and the weather was not great, a bit of wind and rain. So we hurried off down the road to Margaret River. Which is where we are now!